Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tank Program

Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) Program Fees

In September 2011, Stanislaus County CUPA hosted an APSA informational workshop for businesses. This workshops presented information and guidance to assist in preparing or updating an SPCC Plan or Plan Template, and how to be in compliance with APSA and SPCC regulations. The handouts to be given at the workshops can be accessed through the following links:

Regulations for Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tank Facilities

The State Water Resources Control Board, with EPA concurrence, has determined that ANY aboveground petroleum storage tank in California has a reasonable possibility of discharging oil in harmful quantities into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines are subject to the Act.

As the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for Stanislaus County, the Hazardous Materials Division is authorized to ensure that businesses which are impacted by the State of California Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan in place. Below are guidelines for complying with APSA. The regulations contained in the APSA are in conformance with the Federal regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the authority of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) as defined in Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 112 (40 CFR, Part 112). Under the FWPCA, Federal agencies are also required to comply with State and local regulations with respect to oil pollution prevention.

If your facilities have aboveground petroleum storage tank with a single tank capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or with a cumulative storage capacity of 1,320 gallons stored in containers of 55 gallons or greater, you are required to develop and implement an SPCC Plan.

The California APSA only regulates tank facilities that store petroleum and no other oils, as does the federal SPCC Rule. Businesses that are required to have SPCC plans but do not store petroleum are not within our jurisdiction and are not included in this program.

Petroleum is defined in the APSA as "crude oil, or any fraction thereof, which is liquid at 60o F and 14.7 lbs./in2 absolute pressure (normal atmospheric pressure). Fuels that are not liquid at 60o F are not considered "petroleum" under the APSA definition. Additionally 100% vegetable or plant based oils are NOT regulated under APSA unless the fuel contains 1% or greater concentration of petroleum.

A "Qualified Facility" Tier 1 and Tier 2 template SPCC Plan is Available for tank facilities to complete, self-certify, and implement in lieu of a full PE certified Plan. To use the Federal "Qualified Facility" Exemption you must meet all of the following:

  1. 10,000 gallons or less of total aboveground oil storage capacity (Qualified Facilities must use the federal definition of oil, which means oil of any kind or in any form including petroleum; fuel oil; sludge; oil refuse; oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil; fats, oils or greases of animal, fish, or marine mammal origin; vegetable oils, including oil from seeds, nuts, etc.).
  2. Has not within any 12 month period in the three years prior to creating the SPCC had:
    a.) single discharge of 1,000 gallons or more to navigable waters or,
    b.) two discharges to navigable water each exceeding 42 gallons.
  3. A Tier 1 Qualified Facility does not have an AST greater than 5,000 gallons; a Tier 2 Qualified Facility has an AST greater than 5,000 gallons.
  4. If your facility has an AST greater than 5,000 gallons but your total oil storage capacity is less than 10,000 gallons you may still self-certify and implement the SPCC plan in lieu of a full PE certified Plan, but may not use the template plan found in appendix G to 40 CFR 112.
  • Above Ground Tank Inspection Form
  • Tier 1 Qualified Facility SPCC Plan Template
    The USEPA plan Tier 1 Qualified Facility SPCC Plan Template above contains incorrect information. The USEPA has acknowledged this but has not yet published a revised version. This does not relieve you from completing and implementing an SPCC plan, but be aware that if you download and complete this form you may have to redo your plan at a future date
  • Tier 2 Qualified Facility SPCC Plan Template
    This Tier II SPCC Plan template has been developed by the CalCUPA Forum Board's APSA Working Group and is intended to serve as an SPCC Plan template for use by Tier II Qualified Facilities meeting 40 CFR §112.3(g)(2). Although the 40 CFR 112 SPCC rules do not specifically provide for, nor has US EPA developed, a plan template for use by Tier II Qualified Facilities, this Tier II plan template to the best of our knowledge would allow a Tier II Qualified Facility properly completing the template to meet the requirements for preparation of a written SPCC Plan as specified for Tier II Qualified Facilities. This template has not been reviewed or approved by the US EPA.

Conditional California APSA Exemptions exempt some facilities from preparing an SPCC plan. This conditional exemption applies to a farm, a nursery, Logging site and a construction site * , if (1) no aboveground tank exceeds 20,00 gallons and (2) the cumulative storage capacity at the site is less than 100,000 gallons. To maintain this exemption the facility must conduct daily inspections of the aboveground tank(s), be inspected by the local CUPA and install secondary containment if required. These facilities may still be required to prepare and implement a Federal SPCC plan.

*A construction site is the portion of the facility that is actually undergoing construction. A construction yard is not a construction site.

UFC and OSHA Requirements for aboveground storage tanks

  1. Tank approved by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) for storage of flammable and combustible liquids. (UFC 7902., Article 90, Standard u.1.7)
  2. Tank strength tested by either the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Petroleum Institute, or the UL. (29 CFR 1910.106(b)(7))
  3. Equipped with spill containment on the fill pipe. Spill containers shall have a capacity of not less than 5 gallons and be equipped with a manual drain valve which drains into the primary tank. (UFC 5202.3.1, App. II-F, Sec. 5.7)
  4. Equipped with a high liquid level alarm with an audible or visual signal at 85% tank capacity or a liquid level gage. (UFC 5202.3.1, App. II-F, Sec. 5.5) (40 CFR 112.7(e)(2)(viii)(A) and (E))
  5. Equipped with a positive shutoff valve at 90% tank capacity. (UFC 5202.3.1, App. II-F, Sec. 5.5) (40 CFR 112.7(e)(2)(viii)(B))
  6. Equipped with an emergency relief vent. (UFC 7902.2.6)
  7. Equipped with a normal vent at least as large as the filling or withdrawal connection, whichever is larger, but in no case less than 1 1/4-inch nominal inside diameter. Vent shall be equipped with piping that extends 12-feet above grade and a flame arrester. (UFC 7902.1.10.3) (29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(iv)(b), (iv)(f), and (vi)(b)
  8. Equipped with a dispensing device that is UL-listed for flammable liquids (i.e. gasoline). (29 CFR 1910.106(g)(3)(iv)(b)(1)
  9. Tank openings are only allowed through the top of the tank. This includes the opening for the discharge piping. (UFC 5202.4.1, App. II-F, Sec. 6.2)
  10. Provide earthquake protection. For commercially purchased tanks the manufacturer's recommendations should be followed. (UFC 7902.1.9)
  11. Provide vehicle impact protection. Guard posts shall be located not less than 5 feet from the tank, spaced no more than 4 feet on center, not less than 3 feet in height, constructed of not less than 4-inch diameter steel, and concrete filled. (UFC 5202.4.1, App. II-F, Sec. 5.4)
  12. Equipped with an emergency shut-off switch located within 75 feet of, but not less than 25 feet from the fuel dispenser. The switch shall be labeled EMERGENCY FUEL SHUTDOWN DEVICE. (UFC 5201.5.3) (29 CFR 1910.106(g)(3)(iii))
  13. The distance between two storage tanks containing flammable or combustible liquids must be at least three feet. Tanks shall be located at least 15 feet from property lines and at least 5 feet from buildings or public ways. (UFC Tables 7902.2.F and G) (29 CFR 1910.106(b)(2)(ii)
  14. Tanks must be labeled to identify the contents. (UFC 7902.1.3.2)
  15. The UFC requires a permit from the local Fire Marshall and submittal of an operation plan to store, handle, or use more than 10 gallons of Class I liquids at an outside location, or 60 gallons of Class II or III liquids outside, except flammable and combustible liquids stored in a fuel tank on a motor vehicle. (UFC Secs. 7901.3, 105.8.f.3.2, and 105.8.f.3.3). UFC Sec. 5202.4.1, App. II-F, Sec. 3, describes the permit and plans application requirements and the information that must be submitted with the application.

Before purchasing, installing, or retrofitting an existing tank the local Fire Marshall and the California Air Resources Board should be contacted for any site specific restrictions. In some locations you may be able to obtain a written waiver of certain UFC requirements.

There are several commercial tank systems available that meet the requirements of the ACT, and the OSHA and UFC regulations. Many of these tanks are also available with optional equipment to meet any California Air Resources Board requirements for vapor recovery. Serious consideration should be given to purchasing one of these self-contained units when constructing a new tank facility or to bring an existing tank facility into compliance. Many of these tanks are on the GSA schedule.

When AST's are abandoned, temporarily taken out-of-service, or removed the applicable Federal, State, and local regulations must also be followed. UFC regulations require all AST's not used for a period of 90 days to have all liquids removed from the tank, all piping capped or plugged and secured against tampering, and the vent lines open and properly maintained. AST's that are out of service for one year or more must be removed from the property.

AGT Monitoring Program

H&SC section 25270.7 - The owner or operator of a tank facility shall establish and maintain a monitoring program pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2), as applicable, which shall be approved by the regional board, to detect releases to the soil and water, including both groundwater and surface water. The owner or operator shall establish the required monitoring program in accordance with the requirements and a schedule prescribed by the regional board. The owner or operator subject to this section shall designate a schedule for monitoring and the sample locations, which shall be approved by the regional board. The owner or operator shall make the monitoring results available to the regional board & the Dept. of Fish and Game.

  1. Each owner or operator of a tank facility subject to this chapter which, because of the tank location, tank size, characteristics of the petroleum being stored or the spill containment system, has the potential to impact surface waters or sensitive ecosystems, as determined by the regional board, shall do either of the following:
    1. Install and maintain a system, approved by the regional board, to detect releases into surface waters or sensitive ecosystems.
    2. If any discharge from a tank facility flows, or would reasonably be expected to flow, to surface waters or a sensitive ecosystem, allow a drainage valve to be opened and remain open only during the presence of an individual who visually observes the discharge.
  2. Each owner or operator of a tank facility subject to this chapter which, because of the tank facility location, tank size, or characteristics of the petroleum being stored (16 degrees API or lighter), has the potential to impact the beneficial uses of the groundwater, as determined by the regional board, and which is not required to have a groundwater monitoring program at the tank facility pursuant to any other federal, state, or local law, shall do any of the following:
    1. Install a tank facility groundwater monitoring system which will detect releases of petroleum into the groundwater, as approved by the regional board.
    2. Install and maintain a tank foundation design which will provide for early detection of releases of petroleum before reaching the groundwater, as approved by the regional board.
    3. Implement a tank water bottom monitoring system and maintain a schedule which includes a log or other record which will identify or indicate releases of petroleum before reaching the groundwater, as approved by the regional board.
    4. Use other methods which will detect releases of petroleum into or before reaching the groundwater, as approved by the regional board.
  3. Tank owners or operators shall report all positive release findings to the appropriate regional board within 72 hours after learning of the release. This section does not apply to any tank whose exterior surface, including connecting piping, and the floor directly beneath the tank, can be monitored by direct viewing.

Additional Information about Aboveground Storage Tank Requirements

California Environmental Protection Agency
Unified Program Section
1001 "I" Street
Sacramento, California 95812-2815

John Paine
Phone: (916)327-5092
Email: vog.ac.apelac@eniapj

Jennifer Lorenzo
Phone: (916)327-9560
Email: vog.ac.apelac@oznerolj